Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer Holidays redux

Now that the girls are back in school, I finally have a few minutes to sit down and hear myself think. And I guess that means that I should wade through the backlog of blog posts floating around inside my brain. Unfortunately they are somewhat fragmented (to say the least) and quite incoherent. Let's see if I can sort out something intelligible out of the madness.

One obvious event is our trip to Germany and Austria. Ironman has spent the last ten months training for IM #3, Ironman Regensburg, which occurred on 1 August. We left for Germany at 6:15 am the Thursday before the race.

Just an aside: if you ever want to experience trans-Atlantic jet leg on a budget, I highly recommend the early morning Easy Jet flights to the Continent. Getting up at 3:00 am after going to bed at 11:00 and spending the next six hours in various modes of transportation did a fantastic job of beating the crap out of the two of us. The girls were less traumatized by the whole event, but us parents are united in our cries of Never Again!

After landing in Munich, we picked up a car and headed north. A short time later, we were in our hotel and Himself had picked up his race stuff. Regensburg is a gorgeous city, full of cobblestone streets and old buildings.

Waiting for Daddy to get all his race stuff...

It turned out that another SW-London competitor (who was known to Himself before we got there) was staying at our hotel. He and IM left at sparrow's fart on Sunday morning to get to the swim start, while the girls and I slept in and then braved the road closures to get out to the bike course. And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more - finally the fast people came by.

And eventually we saw Daddy. He was smiling and looking pretty good at that stage (halfway through the second of two laps on the bike course). Then we headed in to town, braved the parking (!) and trooped out to the run course. Thankfully it wound through the town, taking in lots of sights.

Go Daddy!

And it passed a playground. So the girls and I walked out along the course, cheering for the runners, until we reached said playground.

The girls did a stellar job of being entertained for hours on end at this place. Which was needed, because we spent quite a while waiting for Himself to appear again. And again. And again. Four 10K loops must be excruciatingly mind numbing to run. But he persevered - the final result was not what he was hoping for, but come on...140.6 miles under your own power? An amazing accomplishment no matter how long it takes. Even if things did get a wee bit nutty in the late hours of the evening...

After Regensburg, we spent a couple of days waiting for Daddy's synapses to start firing efficiently again. And then it was off to Austria. We hit Salzburg first, and had an amazing time eating everything in sight (justified or not), playing at the Magic Flute Playground, climbing up to the fort overlooking the town, and generally playing tourist.

Massive slide with Devil for scale

We spent the better part of three days in and around Salzburg, and it was absolutely wonderful. Even if they are a bit het up about this guy...

Then we headed off to Innsbruck which, tragically, was socked in with clouds the entire time we were there. It didn't deter the experts in European Playground Inspection, but we didn't get to see the mountains in all there glory. But there was more swinging and sliding and general mayhem, including an event that had the parents in the group almost wetting themselves with laughter. We'd gone to the playground near our hotel one morning to get out some extra energy. Sadly, it was a grey and drizzly day, so we put on the girls' waterproof pants and off we went. The slides were metal, and I almost ruptured something when Boo slid down the smaller slide, and ended up going so fast that she shot off the end of the slide and landed a couple of feet away, leaving a lovely skid mark in the mud. She left tracks. Unfortunately, we weren't on the spot with the cameras, so we had to settle for a video reconstruction which was, to be fair, also pretty funny.

A couple days in Innsbruck and it was time to head back to Munich to catch the plane. Our plan was to drive back via The Disney Castle, but for whatever reason, the traffic going through the mountains was unbelievable. So we had to bail on that and head back to catch our plane. The flight home was much less jarring then the trip over, and we came back to run 42 loads of laundry in the four days before we had to pack up again and head west for the real jet lag. An upcoming post...

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